Working with Platforms
Incopro has built relationships with leading online marketplaces and platforms around the world. We continue to leverage these relationships to drive positive change for brands.
Brands on their own, are outmanned and outgunned in the face of ever-evolving infringement activity. We are in tune with these emerging threats, whether they are posed by fast-growing channels, new types of infringement, or bad actors using techniques to avoid detection altogether.
We work closely with platforms, both incumbent and emerging, firm in the belief that Brand Protection requires a strategic approach and strong collaboration to be successful. Together, brands, platforms and regulators can take the fight to infringers on a global scale and win.
1. Online marketplaces
Bad actors hide in plain sight
2. Social Media
Ecommerce functionality suited for clandestine infringers
3. Search Engines
Time to step up
1. Online marketplaces – bad actors hide in plain sight
Ecommerce continues its staggering growth. And as physical retail declines, marketplaces have become the go-to location for hundreds of millions of global consumers.
Annual eCommerce sales reaching over US$1 Trillion in 2020.
Annual eCommerce sales reaching US$400 Billion in 2020.
82% of Amazon sales go through the buy box.
However, many emerging online marketplaces focus on growth and increasing cart size, with little attention paid to the validity of sellers or the products they offer, leading to compromised quality and consumer experience. Bad actors hide in plain sight on marketplaces across the globe, fooling consumers into purchasing infringing products, many of which are very low-quality and potentially dangerous.
Although not by design, the marketplace model currently puts bad actors at an advantage.
Online marketplace algorithms favor low-prices, allowing infringing products to be pushed higher up search rankings and to take control of primary purchase areas such as the buy-box. Marketplace listings use “tags” or “hidden tags” to appear in product searches, regardless of whether a brand name is included in the listing description.
Bad actors can also sponsor listings to push them to the top of first-page results and above a brand’s products.
Frictionless account creation and listing of products, at a low cost to the seller, means it is easy for criminal networks to infiltrate marketplaces.
On the majority of marketplaces, sellers are not required to verify the information they display, leaving consumers in the dark about product location, seller location and the authenticity of items.
Incopro has established a Platform Best Practices Charter that advises platforms on how to effectively combat IP infringement and protect consumers. Read the charter below.
3. Search Engines – time to step up
Incopro’s research into the role search engines play in directing unwitting consumers to locations selling infringing products reveals the alarming scale of the issue.
of first-page search results for branded goods direct to fake products
of the potentially harmful sites in five researched sectors appear within the first three search results;
of the first result shown in a search engine will benefit from all click-throughs (Optify, 2017).
Incopro maintains strong relationships with search engines but recognizes there is a disconnect between their current approach and what is best for consumer safety.
Currently, Incopro is able to approach domain registrars and web hosts to take down infringing websites. However, if search engines were to introduce a simplified de-indexing process to deal with trademark infringement, brands would be able to act faster to protect consumers and their online reputations, especially in scenarios where registrars or registrants are noncompliant.
In 2020, pressure from brands owners, trade associations, and Incopro led to a shift in Google’s stance, with the search engine giant launching a de-indexing tool for trademark infringements. This tool represents progress but does not yet go far enough in tackling entire websites dedicated to infringement. Hear from experts at Daniel Wellington, Wiggin, and Incopro on what the change means for brands and why a scalable solution is still needed.
Brand protection technology part of the puzzle
All brands have a shared goal of reducing online infringement and desire a simple, swift, and well-managed process for tackling bad actors.
Schemes such as Amazon Project Zero, eBay VeRO, and the WeChat Brand Protection Tool have enhanced the enforcement process for brands on these high-priority platforms. However, platform tools are only one piece of the puzzle and are not found on every marketplace or social media site. Networks operate across platforms and territories rather than on individual marketplaces, meaning our wide dataset, swift threat prioritization , unrivalled industry expertise, and strategic enforcement is critical in meaningfully reducing the level of infringement.
Collaboration is key
Collaboration is the final piece of the puzzle and sits at the very heart of Brand Protection; it is imperative that we maintain strong relationships with platforms and that we encourage the adoption of transparent enforcement policies.
That’s why we hold regular meetings with regional incumbents such as Alibaba, WeChat, and Amazon to pass on our insights on infringement trends to help shape the platforms’ overall strategy and improve the tools available to brands. Many of our customers are also part of brand collaborations such as the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance, enabling us to have influence over platform policies. Through these relationships, we are able to approach our key contacts at platforms to escalate concerns from brands and expedite action in time-sensitive scenarios.
We are driving forward the agenda for closer collaboration – both amongst brands and with platforms. We believe that, together, brands, platforms and regulators can stifle the ability for sophisticated global bad actor networks to grow and prosper and ultimately win the war against the criminals responsible.Our Story
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